High Tide in Venice

Attraction or Uncertainty?

Hight tide: exciting experience? Sometimes it is only a few centrimetres that wet the building’s foundations and the surrounding streets: greater problems arise when the moon along with atmospheric pressure and either the southerly wind (Scirocco) or the cold mortherly wind (Bora) causes the high tide to invade entire parts of the city. So of a pair of rubber boots and a curious attitude to tackle the “high tide experience” could be a visitor’s idea of fun, then a bit of light should be shed on the topic. If you consider the tide level to be “+100cm”, the measurements will refer to the increase relative to the average sea level (which by convention refers to the average sea level measured in 1897 at the Punta della Salute).

It is only when the tide exceeds +110cm that parts of the city start to become hindered by the effects of flooding. At the various public transport (steamboat and motorboat) stops throughout the city, there are maps that indicate the pedestrian routes that are elevated and not affected by the floods, therefore connecting seemigly inacessibile parts of Venice.

Moreover, sirens throughout the high tide days shouldn’t come a surprise as there are used to indicate the arrival of the floods. There are different combinations of acustic alerts to signal for tide levels. This is how to recognize the siren alerts: firstly an inital siren blast will be used to call people to attention.

Following this, for an expected level of:

110 cm – a prolonged acustic signal on the same “note”

120 cm – two acustic signals of a growing scale

130 cm – three acustic signals of a growing scale

140 cm and over – four acoustic signals of a growing scale

So actually, all that is needed to maintain an unhindered visiting schedule is a pair of rubber  boots that are readily availabile at our welcome desk.